Superunknown: GMP’s have been here before
| Colm Collins

Superunknown: GMP’s have been here before

How can we move people effectively during a global pandemic without creating unnecessary risk?

A day in the life of a Global Mobility Professional always brought with it some distinct challenges.

At the best of times, being the primary POC of the plan to get an SME from Country A to Country B when the PM of Project X requires them there ASAP but the start date is TBC…well, that can make for a stomach-turning alphabet soup. But with experience, this algebraic nightmare becomes less daunting, and Global Mobility Professionals are generally quite comfortable operating in a kitchen where there are multiple ingredients dictating the who, how, where and when of resource mobilisation.

This was before that other acronym** came along.

The idea of being involved in an industry that requires people to be "globally mobile" seems a bit like a cruel joke when leaving your home brings with it a public health warning. That being said, the modern nature of business means that some work can, and must, continue unabated and they are in the fortunate position of working in an industry where technology allows them to keep going. For others, that is not possible, and are perhaps in a holding pattern as we wait to see what happens next.   

As a result, almost every live business decision has a cloud hanging over it that was unforeseen less than a year ago. But this cloud may be on the horizon of every decision for years to come.

In some ways, this isn’t especially new for a Global Mobility Professional. Being cognizant of the unknown and managing that potential ambiguity with the business is at the root of every assignment. The only thing that's different now is that the unknown is so obvious, it almost goes without saying. This isn’t a particular visa office experiencing a closure due to public holidays, or a slow-down in processing of work permissions from the government. This is a united global issue that needs no introduction.

So how can we move people effectively during a global pandemic without creating unnecessary risk for employees and their families? Moving country is stressful enough without adding this to the mix. It’s back to the fundamentals of what makes any move successful:

  • Planning: No doubt it’s hard to plan right now with different countries operating at different levels to contain the virus, but this is something an experienced GMP excels at. We’ve seen 6-9 months of governments reacting and implementing plans which will be the platform for any move. A GMP’s existing knowledge and experience will help to lay out a realistic plan of action with contingencies at each major step in the process.
  • Coordination: Leverage whatever help you can get to bring together that plan. Your vendors where you can to get as much information as you can to help with your plan, and then coordinate with them to execute that plan. Vendors are paid to be subject matter experts, and they should be relied upon to deliver. The business may also have boots-on-the-ground expertise that can be utilised, and the GMP is the person that can project manage these efforts successfully.
  • Communication: Perhaps the most important skill to utilise throughout any relocation, but especially now. A well-coordinated plan will be nothing without the ability and the willingness to communicate throughout. Things will change, and the unknowns are as unique as they ever have been, but the difference this time is that everyone knows it. What will make a plan of moving country or continent work this time is the ongoing commitment to communicating with all stakeholders throughout the process.






For further information and advice on navigating the Ireland immigration landscape and impacts of COVID-19, please contact Colm Collins or your Fragomen immigration professional.

This blog was published on 9 October 2020, and due to the circumstances, there are frequent changes. To keep current with all the latest updates on global immigration, please visit our COVID-19 microsite, subscribe to our alerts and follow us on LinkedIn.

**COVID might actually be a portmanteau, but if Alanis Morrissette can write a hit song about a list of coincidences and bad luck but call it ironic then let me have this one.